STMicroelectronics Forecasts Rising Sales as Industry Rebounds

STMicroelectronics NV, Europe’s largest chipmaker, said second-quarter revenue will rise as much as 31 percent from a year earlier as demand rebounds from a recessionary lull.

The forecast indicates revenue of as much as $2.6 billion. Analysts had predicted sales of $2.55 billion on average, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Net income was $57 million, compared with a net loss of $541 million a year earlier, the Geneva-based company said in a statement yesterday after the close of trading in New York. Sales advanced 40 percent to $2.33 billion. Net income had been predicted at $13.3 million on sales of $2.43 billion, the average estimates of analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

“Our first quarter revenues, well in-line with our expectations, reflected the significant rebound from the economic crisis and solid demand for our products,” Chief Executive Officer Carlo Bozotti said in the release.

Sales of chips, used in such products as mobile phones, set-top boxes and washing machines, are reviving after an economic slump cut demand. In January, Bozotti predicted that the market served by STMicroelectronics would rise 10 percent to 12 percent this year. Intel, the world’s biggest chipmaker, last week forecast second-quarter sales that topped analysts’ predictions, after posting record sales in the first three months.

Currency Gains

“In addition to the positive effect from the stronger U.S. dollar, prices are rising thanks to a combination of very strong demand and saturated production capacity,” brokerage Intermonte Sim SpA said in a note before the results.

Most of STMicroelectronics’ revenue is denominated in the U.S. currency, helping the company benefit from the dollar’s 7 percent gain against the euro this year.

In February, STMicroelectronics, Intel Corp. and Francisco Partners agreed to sell flash-chip maker Numonyx BV to Micron Technology Inc., the biggest U.S. producer of computer memory. STMicroelectronics said at the time it expected to receive about 66.6 million Micron shares in the deal. The Geneva-based company predicted it would make a gain of about $280 million on the deal after accounting for debt and other payments.

Infineon Technologies AG, Europe’s second-largest chipmaker, said last week it will raise its full-year forecast as second-quarter sales and earnings were better than anticipated.

The Semiconductor Industry Association said April 5 it’s “cautiously optimistic” for growth beyond its November forecast, when it predicted a 10.2 percent gain in global chip sales this year. Research firm Gartner Inc. predicted Feb. 24 that worldwide semiconductor revenue will advance about 20 percent to $276 billion in 2010.

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